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Showing posts from 2011

Fox Hunting on 403MHz

Its in the news again! Thieves are jamming the car security remotes, so you can't lock your car/garage/gate.

The jamming of the car remotes by the 'bad guys' is going on all the time in South Africa. Mostly at busy shopping malls. These car thieves are well organised with medium power jamming devices.  Which should be easily detected by Doppler or RDF receivers. It doesn't matter how 'secure' the code is, these 'jammers' work by blocking the receiver from getting the code to lock the car doors.

Having had some personal experience in this field as well as the previous ZS6WL, it would be simple to make a 403MHz receiver.

How about 'we' as a club, make a project that serves the community by detecting these thieves. As Radio Amateurs 'we' could use our experience in 'Fox Hunting' and assist the police and security firms in catching these crooks.

In the late 80's an 'incident' was recounted to me by Anti-Car-Rob. The…

I have a complain!

Today on 702 the new consumer protection agency said that their email address is complains@... Which had me in fits of laughter. Why in this day and age does anyone not have the most accurate and descriptive email address. Surely its not because of the old (last century) 8 character limit on filenames?
They should 'complain' to their ISP and have them make an alias for complaints@... Or can the system not do that? Is it a limitation of the Windows system? Yesterday I received an email from 'stockcontrolsupervisor' at ... I could actually spell the email address but the potential for erroneously addressed emails is great. This apparently cuts down the amount of spam. But does it? The spammers are very adept at 'snarfing' email addresses from web pages and emails. 
So where and to whom do I complain?

Oh the Irony!

For the past two years I have been advocating SSD's (Solid State Disk drives) for use as boot disks in Windows PC's. After purchasing a Samsung drive for a small fortune, I had a vastly improved performance Windows XP machine. And vowed to get another for the No.2 PC. The supplier ceased to supply Samsung. I went looking for alternatives. The neatest solution was the "Momentus" hybrid disk drive from Seagate. This replaced the broken disk in Edith's laptop and made her day as it really was a better speed of booting and loading programs.

I took great delight in switching on No.1 and No.2 PC's at the same time and seeing the three times speed improvement in booting. Finally I replaced the boot disk drive in No.2 with a Kingston disk drive. It happens to be a second faster than No.1 PC.

Now for the irony bit. During the conversion phase of No.2, I moved all the personal stuff from that PC to the Ubuntu PC. I started using the Ubuntu PC for all the Amateur Radio …

Yes! Wireless Radio Waves can lower your IQ!

Just look at all the people driving whilst using a cell phone. Whilst driving to and from my client in Florida, I saw several cars being driven by idiots, like this one on the right.

Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer? Was a recent article in the New York Times.
Now there are all sorts of articles claiming all sorts of virtually unprovable effects. I know of physical effects that my colleagues felt and exhibited in my lab. But that was at a much much higher level of power. Now some other organizations are arguing for a complete disregard of the WHO report. Far too many have a vested interest in this for a realistic finding.

Still I do feel by the evidence witnessed by me, that the cell phone inside a vehicle is a dangerous distraction to the driver. Maybe the R.F. is interfering with brain function.

Warnings of extreme cold

As is usual here in SA, the Winter is to arrive on Thursday. Reports of an approaching cold front have been broadcast on TV and Radio (702). Gauteng is to expect temperatures of 3C with a lot of wind. Where I am at the top of a slope of a hill, the wind chill can take the temperature down to -20C. So what you ask?

Well in times gone by, the hard disks in PC's have failed to start spinning. They are rated at a low temperature of 15C working. And may fail to start at lower temperatures. So do I...

The cat (Tequila) has found the sun after searching through the blinds. The sun comes over the hill at 8:45 and shines in the window. The cat does not wait for the sun to shine on the window but tries each blind in turn to see if the sun is there.

Some years ago I had several calls from clients that had PC's that would not boot up on the cold mornings. I advised them to leave the PC's switched on and this would keep the inside temperature above 15C with self heating. Nowadays with …

Windows Updates Fail!

[Error 0x8DDD0018 - services not the same as M$ would like...]
So today is "Patch Tuesday", er Friday (here in SA), But the update on my 'veteran' XP PC failed. When I tried to run the update manually, the web page checking the services failed with error 0x8DDD0018. It gives instructions on how to check on the services and to reset them to working condition. Funny thing, mine were all 'started' and running. But they were not necessarily automatic or manual. The 'checker' failed with the above error code. So I checked on the web pages given on the 'help' page... nothing found. It does not 'know' the error code and fails to tell you anything about 'your problem'...

Warning this XP update/patch is 250MB and will take you closer to the 'cap' on your Internet connection. As it is halfway through the month it might take you over your 'cap'. Don't put the update/patch off. These are mostly security patches and are m…

This weekend has been informative, instructive and wet!

A relatively peaceful weekend from Friday but with another 'incident' in Windows XP.
My friend Roy, came to me with a "Scareware Virus" called MS Removal Tool. (My first thought was - what a good idea - maybe Ubuntu...) But no, this turned into a 'major mission' to remove and recover control of his PC. It would not allow him to use any of the standard anti-virus measures nor run any diagnostic software like 'Task Manager'.

How did he get it?
Very simple, he went to a web site that had been 'click-jacked' and without him knowing, the 'virus' was installed on his PC. He was using Internet Explorer and he has Microsoft's Security Essentials. Unfortunately both are side-tracked and bypassed by this rogue software.

This is the same category of malware that disrupted another client's PC recently. There it was called 'AntiVir'. It would not allow the user to remove the virus without going into 'safe mode'. This is not…